By Hans Ngala, Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Bamenda – The city of Bamenda went into a complete lockdown as a Ghost Town declared by the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) was observed across towns and villages in West Cameroons. The ghost towns observances were declared by CACSC, after trigger-happy security forces released gun fire at four people, killing one and injuring 3 others on Thursday night in Bamenda.
This was after multitudes went on the rampage at Northwest Governor’s office at about 2:00AM following rumors that went viral on social media claiming Anglophone teachers were being forced to sign consenting documents calling off the strike which they began on November 21.
In the early hours of the morning from about 6:00AM to about 9:00AM, a few petty businesses such as road-side eateries, hawkers and some motorbikes could be seen timidly carrying on their activities but as the day grew older, everything was in lockdown. Major streets in the town like SONAC Street and Commercial Avenue were deserted before it was noon. The Bamenda Main Market never even opened.
Most streets were turned into soccer fields where youths ran around freely kicking bottles which they pretended to be their own “ball” or actually played a real ball as a sign of their support for the Consortium’s declaration of ghost town.
The Cameroon Journal spoke to a few Bamendans to know their take on the current crisis; “I don’t know what to make of this anymore but I wish that the
teachers and lawyers should have frank discussions with government and each party should be genuine about what they say”, a lady who preferred to remain anonymous told The Cameroon Journal.
“The fact that these soldiers are ready to kill people for no reason, is clear indication that government does not want to address these issues but wants to remain on its high horse. Can you imagine that teachers raise problems and they instead go on to bribe traditional rulers who have nothing to do with education directly?” a man whose names we got only as Nchinda told us.
The Cameroon Journal could not immediately reach any of the Consortium members for comment as to what their next move will be.
At press time, a fight had almost ensued between a stubborn bike rider and a mob at a neighborhood in Bamenda when the crowd demanded that the rider park his bike but he insisted on doing business. The problem was only resolved when police who are all over the town, got to the scene.
It is still unclear whether the teachers will “suspend” the strike action after they meet with the inter-ministerial ad-hoc committee on Wednesday, January 18 given that they have categorically stated that there must be a return to a two-state Federation and that all youths arrested following protests on December 8 and November 21st must be released. The ghost towns is being observed on January 16 and 17 all over West Cameroon as teachers prepare to next meet with the inter-ministerial ad-hoc committee on Wednesday.